Friday February 16th 2018 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Grand Theatre in Reno, Nevada veterans Ray Beltran and Paulus Moses faced off on a Top Rank promoted event for the vacant WBO World Lightweight Title. With a combined age of 75 yrs between them many questioned the level of action that would take place and legitimacy of this fight being for a world title. Once the bell rang 39 year old Paulus Moses a former WBA lightweight champion and 36 year old Ray Beltran the former multi-time world title contender showed they were still world caliber fighters.
In the early rounds Beltran set the pace working Moses body hoping it would pay dividends in later rounds, Moses would be more conservative with his punches but they seemed more damaging swelling and opening a cut around Beltran’s left eye. We would see strong starts from both men in round four with each fighter having equal moments of success, it would be Beltran who finished the round stronger. The fifth round would be all Ray Beltran as he pressed the pace and stunned Moses who did have some success landing inside uppercuts. As the round closed Moses found a home for his right hand and was now cut along side his right eye.
The sixth and seventh rounds were clearly in favor of Moses, as the blood from an early cut suffered by Beltran became an issue it allowed Moses to land clean hard right hands that drove Beltran back limiting him to using his jab. We would see some of Beltran’s underrated boxing ability in round eight as he mixed his attack sending Moses to the corner breathing hard, in the ninth Moses stunned Beltran who came back and finished the round strong.
The championship rounds is where we seen some lulls in action as both men were showing understandable fatigue due to a high volume ten rounds.We seen the early body work from Beltran pay dividends, as Moses at times was stationary Beltran landed combinations that were occasional met with a Moses counter right hand. Once the final round began with both fighters knowing what was at stake, they gave everything left in their tanks it would be a more active Ray Beltran but a more accurate harder hitting Paules Moses.
At the finish my score unofficially read 115-112 in favor of Ray Beltran while official scores read 116-112 from Eric Cheek and 117-111 twice from Judges Burt A. Clements and Don Trella. The scores of Clements and Trella as usual were far too wide but the right man won. It was without question a world championship quality fight and performance by both men. With his long sought after world title Ray Beltran improved to 35-7-1 (21) Paulus Moses now stands at 40-4 (25).
In the co-feature welterweights Egidijus “The Machine” Kavaliauskas and David “Ava” Avanesyan faced off for Kavaliauskas NABF Welterweight title. The bout would start slow as both men looked to see what the other was bringing into the fight power and style wise. In the second and third rounds Kavaliauskas kept Avanesyan at a distance by using his jab in rapid succession.
The fourth and fifth rounds were in favor of Avanesyan who had found a way past the jab of Kavaliauskas and worked the undefeated prospects body. In round six Avanesyan still in control would be caught with a counter hook from Kavaliauskas and driven to the ropes. A few second later after being caught with a flurry or clean power punches, referee Tony Weeks would need to jump in and save Avanesyan from further punishment. With the win Egidijus Kavaliauskas improved to 19-0 (16), David Avanesyan now stands at 23-3-1 (11).
In Undercard action
Featherweight- Shakur Stevenson 5-0 (2) def. Jonny Tapia 8-2 (3) via UD 8.
Heavyweight- Bryant Jennings 22-2 (13) def. Akhror Muralimov 16-4 (13) via TKO 3.
Muralimov down twice in round one, once in round two and twice in the third round. Fight waved off by referee Jay Nady.
Lightweight -Robson Conceicao 6-0 (4) def. Ignacio Holguin 5-1-1 (5) via UD 6.
Conceicao the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist for Brazil scored a first round knockdown.
Super Welterweight- Sagadat Rakhmankulov 1-0 (1) def. Noel Esqueda 8-5-2 (6) via TKO 5.
Super featherweight Ricardo Lucio Galvin 2-0 (2) def. Galvan Kenny Guzman 4-12(1) via TKO 3.